(Sap·phiʹra) [from Aramaic, and meaning “Beautiful”].
The wife of Ananias. With her husband she entered a conspiracy that resulted in their death. They sold a field of their possession and hypocritically pretended to bring the full value obtained to the apostles, as other Christians in Jerusalem were doing to meet the emergency that developed after Pentecost of 33 C.E.
The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was, not that they did not give the entire amount of the price of the possession sold, but that they lyingly claimed to do so, evidently to receive plaudits of men rather than to honor God and do good toward his congregation. Their deception was exposed by Peter, under the inspiration of holy spirit. He said: “Ananias, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? As long as it remained with you did it not remain yours, and after it was sold did it not continue in your control? Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart? You have played false, not to men, but to God.” On hearing Peter’s words, Ananias fell down and expired.
After about three hours Sapphira came in and repeated the lie. Peter then asked her: “Why was it agreed upon between you two to make a test of the spirit of Jehovah?” Sapphira likewise fell down and expired. This incident served as discipline for the congregation, causing them to have great fear, and doubtless great respect and appreciation for the fact that Jehovah indeed dwelt in the congregation by spirit.—Ac 4:34, 35; 5:1-11; 1Co 3:16, 17; Eph 2:22; compare 1Ti 1:20.